How do people connect with one another? How do we find our soul mates, the people we are meant to live with, work with, and love? The provocative and moving new film I Am, now playing in theaters, may provide a clue.
I Am is a documentary by the 52-year-old director Tom Shadyac, who made a name for himself by writing and directing the Jim Carrey movies Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Bruce Almighty, and Liar Liar. Despite the accompanying fame and fortune, which included all the accoutrements society tells us we need for “success,” Shadyac came to the realization that he was “no happier.” Then he was in a near-fatal bicycle accident that left him wondering what he really wanted to do and say before he died.
To answer that existential riddle, Shadyac started meeting with consciousness researchers, academics, thought leaders, and spiritual teachers—including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Howard Zinn, and Noam Chomsky—and asking two questions: What’s wrong with the world? And what can we do about it?
One of the most intriguing concepts that Shadyac discovered is what physicists call “quantum entanglement.” A basic tenet of quantum mechanics, quantum entanglement posits that everything is connected across space and time. Two objects that interact, whether they are elementary particles, distant celestial bodies, or proximate human beings, become inextricably connected. Move one and the other senses it in some still inexplicable way and responds.
Dean Radin, who appears on camera in I Am to explain the concept of quantum entanglement, is senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and author of Entangled Minds (Simon & Schuster, 2006). I asked Radin how quantum entanglement relates to human relationships. He said that entanglement suggests that at deep levels, the fabric of physical reality is all about interconnections, and that our everyday sense of separation is an illusion. Further, he said, “Since you cannot observe something without influencing it, strong intentions might cause a kind of gravity that pulls people of like minds together.”
The concept of quantum entanglement is reminiscent of what I call Lyon’s Law, named for my beloved, Susan Lyon, who is, as far as I know, the first person to use the term “soul resonance.” Lyon’s Law states that each of us emanates a signature vibration throughout our entire lives. This emanation has its own unique vibratory rate and quality—its own “note,” if you will—as unique and distinct as a snowflake or your fingerprint. Unlike your fingerprint, however, your soul vibration changes over time, becoming more or less clear and distinct, or clouded and obstructed, depending on how you live your life.
As Plato said, the purpose of life is the “tendance” of the soul. We can refine our souls only through life experience. Ultimately, this means that the purpose of life is to learn how to love openly, freely, unconditionally, and also skillfully—to heal old wounds rather than create new ones. Taking a page from Plato, Lyon’s Law sees life as a kind of school. If we matriculate and advance, we become more radiant beings, our love shining generously and unceasingly, like the sun.
Through genuine interaction with other souls, we clarify our distinctive notes. This is what the heart longs for—to love and be loved. Sometimes we stumble and have our hearts broken. Sometimes we break another’s heart. And sometimes life is grace-filled and exultant. From the moment we are born we begin searching for those individuals with whom we can tend our spirits, with whom we are in harmonic soul resonance, with whom we are quantumly entangled.
I Am reminds us that we’re all connected, and that we need to listen to our hearts. The entrepreneurs behind social networking services like Facebook, eHarmony, and Match.com would do well to take notice. After all, there may be a business opportunity in this mix of mysticism and poetic science.
Imagine what would happen, for instance, if Google made it their business to tap into our natural, though still mysterious, ability to sense the people we are meant to meet, the people we are destined to be with, the people we are attracting even at this very moment. Now that would spark a social revolution.
Who knows, maybe there will an app for that someday.
Eric Utne is the founder of Utne Reader. He is working on a book about the intense, clandestine correspondence between his grandmother, the writer Brenda Ueland, and Fridtjof Nansen, the Polar explorer and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Have something to say? Send a letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. This article first appeared in the July-August 2011 issue of Utne Reader.